Agriculture and Invention in 1863: Handy Machines from the Archives of Scientific American [Slide Show]

These devices were designed to reduce the labor or increase the profit of farming

Scientific American

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Agriculture was the biggest industry in 1863. Out of a population in the U.S. of almost 34 million, about half lived on a farm. Thanks to the patent system in the U.S., a farmer spending long hours breaking up soil for planting, or caring for flocks of sheep, could try and figure out a way to use machinery to make any of his tasks easier, quicker, cheaper or more profitable. A patent on such a machine could, and very occasionally did, bring in a lot of money. Most of these inventions, however, were simply impractical or too expensive. The concepts behind the agricultural machines of today, however, are pretty much the same ones that you can see in this slide show of inventions from 1863. Enjoy.

» View the Agriculture of 1863 Slide Show

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